FORT WORTH, Texas – The tie-down roping at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo at Dickies Arena on Saturday night is going to look a lot like a tie-down roping competition at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
That’s because of the eight qualifiers for Saturday’s final, all eight are former Wrangler NFR qualifiers.
On Friday, 2016 Tie-down Roping World Champion Tyson Durfey won the second semifinals and qualified for the finals along with Tuf Cooper, Adam Gray and Tyler Milligan. A night earlier, Shad Mayfield, Cory Solomon, Ryle Smith and Matt Shiozawa qualified for the Fort Worth finals.
Those eight ropers have a combined total of 52 appearances at the Finals. Durfey and Cooper have won five tie-down roping world titles between the two of them.
“It’s super important that you capitalize when you get these opportunities,” said Durfey, who’s been to the Finals 13 times.
The winners of the Fort Worth finals will be crowned Saturday night, each winner taking home $20,000 for the victory. That kind of money will usher the winners to the top of their respective events.
The finals will air live on The Cowboy Channel at 8:30 p.m.
Durfey, who makes his home in Brock, Texas – a 40-minute drive from Dickies Arena – earned $4,000 for winning the semifinal, bringing his total to $6,560 for the rodeo. He’s looking forward to coming back to battle for that $20,000.
“Last year, I had a lot won at this point, I think I had $40,000 won,” Durfey said. “I haven’t been going anywhere this year, this is one of my first rodeos. So, if I happen to win it, it would be a huge bump for the season.”
With so much experience in the finals Saturday, Durfey, 36, knows what he’s up against and is relishing the opportunity.
“You take that talent – you take Tuf Cooper, Haven Meged, myself – there are guys who have been there done that and don’t fold under pressure,” Durfey said. “It’s really going to boil down to who draws the best calf, who executes the best and doesn’t make any mistakes.
“It is like a mini-NFR at a venue that’s as good as the Thomas & Mack, if not better. It’s pretty awesome, especially to get it here in Texas.”
The competition he’ll face will make for a fun night of each roper trying to outdo the others.
“I’m a firm believer that as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another,” he said. “Roping against the best competition at the best venue only brings the best results. And that’s what you want. You don’t want your competitor to do bad. You want him to do amazing, and then you want to do a little bit better.”
Courtesy of PRCA